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New Novel: In That Moment Season 1 Episode 5

Chapter Five

A week in the hospital is one f**king week too long. That much is certain.
I slowly curl up out of my pillows and sit perched on the edge of my bed.  I wince a bit as the movement disturbs a cracked rib and I try to take shallow breaths so that it doesn’t hurt.  The chest compressions from the paramedics did a number on my ribcage. I know they were trying to save my life, but shit.  Did they have to crack four ribs?
As I wait for the pain to settle and for my eyes to adjust to the light of day, I stare out the windows at the large lake that looms in front of me.
Lake Michigan is huge and vast and gray, and my loft-style home is perched above it on the edge of a bluff.  Each room facing the lake has floor to ceiling windows so I have a good view no matter where I’m at.  And I neverworry about who might be walking on the beach below and might see me walking na**d through my house.  It’s my private beach.  If anyone is trespassing, they deserve to see my ball-sack.
I reach for the vial on my nightstand, wincing again.
Running my thumb around the metal rim of the lid, I absently let my mind wander as I try to clear the blur of sleep from my head.  And then I give up on that and dump a little white pill into my hand, something to help me with that process because I’m too impatient to wait.
I’m slacking off the other stuff for a while, though.  Regardless of what my father thinks, I don’t need to take it.  I’m not a f**king addict.  And since it’s not fun to get my stomach pumped and my ribs pummeled, I think I’ll refrain from that particular activity for a while.
knock the pill back with a swig of water from my nightstand, ignoring the fact that I wish it was beer.  It’s only 11:00 a.m. and I’ve decided that I’m not going to drink until 5:00 p.m. on any given day and I’m not going to have any of that “It’s 5:00 somewhere” bullshit.  I’m not a f**king pu**y.  Regardless of popular opinion, I can restrain myself when I want to.
I stumble from my bed, stretch as carefully as I can and make my way into the bathroom, stepping down into my shower.
My shower is one of my favorite things about this house.  It’s a huge tiled expanse, completely ensconced in stone and has four shower heads hitting me from all different directions.  It was custom made to fit my tall body because I hate having to duck down to get clean.  There’s room for a party in here, if I wanted. And I have had many a party in this very shower with groups of willing women.
The memories of those bare, wet br**sts and long thighs all crowded into this very shower makes me instantly hard and I slather soap in my palms before I take things into my own hands.
As I do, Mila’s face appears in my head. It’s unexpected and sudden, but I focus on it, on her soft voice and full tits as I take care of business.  I close my eyes and pretend that my hand is hers.  I picture her soft skin, sliding against mine.  I picture slamming her against the wet shower wall and f**king her until she screams my name, all while her legs are wrapped around my waist.
It doesn’t take long until I am finished.
With a satisfied sigh, I wash myself and grab a thick towel, drying off gently.  And I’m still thinking about Mila Hill.  What the f**k?
On the one hand, I suppose it’s normal.  She did save my life, after all.  And for the life of me, I can’t remember if I thanked her.  Normally, I wouldn’t give a shit, but there is something about her that makes me think about things that I normally wouldn’t.  Something soft and sweet, something real and genuine.
And now I’m acting like a f**king pu**y.
I grab a pair of jeans and a t-shirt and pull them on.
I’m going to put this to rest right now.  I’ll simply ask around and find out where she works, tell her thank you and get on with my life.  She definitely isn’t the kind of person that I should invest time in.  There’s no way that my lifestyle or my personality would ever please her, not in the long run. And I’m not in the business of changing myself for anyone.
As I jam the key into my car, I think about her again, how the dark red shirt that she wore the other day was pulled so tautly across her perky, full boobs.  It makes me wonder what they look like naked.  Her ni**les are probably pink and tilted toward the sky.  My dick gets hard again.
“Why are you giving me such a hard time about this?” I demand of my sister.
Madison looks up from where she is sitting at a small table in my shop, browsing my latest black and white printsof the lake.
Her blonde hair is draped over her slender shoulder, her body curled up into the chair.  I had gotten our mother’s dark hair, while Maddy had inherited our father’s.  She is taller than me, model tall.  Lanky, thin, gorgeous.  I’m the small and dark one.  The baby of the family.   Only now, she and I are our only family.  The Hill family, party of two.

Right now, Maddy looks surprised by my question.
“Why?  Because you haven’t mentioned a guy to me for, like, two years.  Maybe even longer.  That’s why. It piques my interest.”
I roll my eyes and wipe my hands on my smock, smearing the gray and black paint across my hips.  I’m painting the full moon and landscape from the other night, and it seems like it should be portrayed by varying shades of black.  A dark landscape, a dangerous night.  I only hope that I can do it justice on the canvas.
“Of course I’m going to mention saving a guy’s life,” I tell her matter-of-factly.  “Anyone would.  It doesn’t mean anything.”
“Doesn’t it?” Maddy arches one perfectly waxed eyebrow, her gaze glued to mine.
I shake my head.
“No.  It doesn’t.  A guy overdosed.  I gave him CPR and called an ambulance.  The End.”
Maddy smiles the kind of smile that means she’s just getting started.
“Yes, but you’ve elaborated several times about how good-looking he is.  How dangerous.  How fascinating.  Seems to me that that doesn’t mean The End. And that both interests me and concerns me.  This guy overdosed.  On drugs.  You found him convulsing in his car. That’s not exactly what I would consider relationship material.”
Maddy pauses here, her face strict and stern.  I roll my eyes.
“Mila, I’m being serious,” she insists, perturbed that I’m not paying enough attention.  “I haven’t personally met him, although I’ve seen him at the restaurant a few times.  From what I’ve heard, he doesn’t even work.  He’s atrust fund baby; a spoiled brat who doesn’t have to be responsible.  Apparently, he’s a mess.  A true bad boy.  He would eat you for breakfast.”
And this has gone far enough.
“Maddy, let it go,” I sigh.  “Seriously.  It was just an interesting situation and I wanted to tell you about it.  I won’t make that same mistake again, trust me, not if it’s going to earn me an unfounded lecture.  You said yourself that you haven’t even met him.  Besides, I’m not considering him for relationship material.  I’ll probably never even see him again so you can turn off your mama bear instincts.  Now, can you get back to telling me about the restaurant?  What’s wrong?”
Madison turns serious now and sets the portfolio to the side, unfolding her legs from beneath her.  Her deep blue eyes are troubled and that gets my attention.  She’s been taking care of our parents’ restaurant ever since they died and if she’s concerned, then I should be too.
“What’s wrong?” I ask her again.  I’m nervous because Maddy never shows her concern.  As the big sister of our relationship, she always hides it.  Always.
She sighs, her voice thin and wispy, before she turns to me.
“I may have miscalculated the risks involved with doing those renovations.”
I stare at her, confused. “You said the budget was fine, that it would be paid for by spring, and that it would practically pay for itself because it would increase business.”
She nods, troubled.  “I know that’s what I said.  And that’s what I thought.  But I didn’t anticipate that business would drop so much this Fall.  I don’t see it picking up again through the winter, because it never does.  It will be tourist season before we see enough business to really bring in enough revenue to start paying on that loan.”
And now I’m startled. “What does this mean?  Is The Hill in trouble?”
That thought sends me into a panic.  Our parents started their little Italian restaurant when they got married and it has become a staple of Angel Bay.  Situated directly on the beach, it is a popular place for tourists and locals alike in the summer.
After our parents died, my sister came back home to run it.  Since she had just earned a business degree, it seemed logical.  This arrangement allows me to run my little art shop, where I sell art supplies and my own paintings and prints.  It’s a win-win situation.  As part-owner of The Hill, I get a share of the profits every month, while still getting to do my own thing.
But apparently, things aren’t looking so good.
“Don’t freak out,” Madison instructs me calmly.  “It’s not doomsday or anything.  We’re just going to have to tighten our belts around the restaurant this winter.  If you can pull a few shifts, that would really help.  That way, we can cut wait-staff until summer.”
I nod.
“Of course.  Whatever I can do to help.”  Madison and I had both waited tables for our parents in high school and when we came home for summers in college.  It wasn’t a big deal.  I could do it with my eyes closed.
“We might also have to decrease our own pay for a while,” Madison adds slowly, her face serious as she watches for my reaction.  I don’t hesitate, I just nod again.
“That’s fine,” I tell her.  “I can survive on what I make here.”
I glance around at my shop, at the paintings exhibited on the walls under the spotlights and the prints hanging by thin steel cables from the ceiling.  There are chic sitting areas and modern lighting, there are easels and shelves of art supplies, all perfectly arranged.  It’s a trendy little shop, exactly what I had wanted, and it does alright in the winter.  It does exceedingly well in the summer when tourists are here.  I nod again.
“I’ll be fine,” I confirm.  “Will you?”
She nods.  “Yep, I’ll be fine.  Since I live rent-free, I’ll be okay.”
When she had agreed to run our parents’ business, I had told her that she could live in their house.  I have an apartment above my shop anyway, so it seemed like the right thing to do.  Although, in the first months after mom and dad died, I spent a lot of time with her at their house anyway.  It made it seem less real, like they might come walking in the door at any time.
Surprise!  We were just away for a while. But we’re back now.
Of course that never happened and eventually, I went back to my little apartment.  I love my sister, but we don’t live very well together.  I’m a clean freak and she’s a tornado waiting to happen.
“Thank you for being so calm about this,” Maddy tells me, her mouth widening in an appreciative smile.  “Like I said, it’s not the end of the world.  The Hill will be just fine and by summer, we’ll see the return on our investment.  But until then, consider your belt cinched.”

I roll my eyes.  “I don’t wear belts.  But okay.  It’s cinched up tight.  No shopping sprees for me.”
Madison nods, satisfied, and picks up my portfolio again.
“I like this one,” she tells me.  “I want to buy it.”
I lean over her shoulder, staring at the gray cloudy sky and full moon.  I can perfectly see the rippling sheen of the dark water shining in the black and white contrast.  It’s perfect.  I smile.
“This one is gorgeous. And it’s from the other night.  I’ll frame it up for you and you can pick it up next time you’re here.”
She grins at me.  “Or you can drop it off during your shift tomorrow night at The Hill.”
I stare at her. “What?”
“You said you wouldn’t mind pitching in.  You can do a shift tomorrow.  That would help out a bunch.  Then maybe we can go out and get a drink afterward.  It’s been far too long since we’ve blown the cobwebs off.  We need to de-stress.”
I don’t have time to argue about the short notice or to remind my sister that I seldom drink, because the little bell above my door jingles, signaling a customer.  I glare at Maddy quickly before pasting a smile on my face and turning around.
And then I freeze.
Pax Tate is strolling through my door in jeans that look like they were tailored just for him and with a shopping bag in his hand.  His eyes glimmer mischievously as he smiles in greeting, a slow grin that curves his lips and crinkles the corners of his eyes.  In the course of one day, I had forgotten exactly how devastatingly sexy he truly is.
My knees buckle.
Madison turns to stare at me in shock because what are the odds of Pax showing up here?  Particularly after I just said that I would probably never see him again.
“Hey there, little red riding hood,” Pax drawls, setting his bag on the counter in front of me.  “I owe you a sweater.”

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